Kobe Paras and the Niigata Albirex BB continued to slump in the 2021-22 Japan B. League on Wednesday (10 November), after suffering a 81-82 defeat by the Kawasaki Brave Thunders at the Todoroki Arena.
The Filipino reinforcement - who churned out seven points, four rebounds, two assists and two steals -came up clutch down the stretch, but his heroics proved not enough to arrest Niigata's losing slide, which extended to nine matches for a dismal 2-10 win-loss record.
Inside the final minute of regulation, Paras orchestrated a clutch play that led to a Jeff Ayres slam for a 80-79 lead, in favor of the Albirex.
However, Rosco Allen committed an unsportsmanlike foul moments later that left the door wide open for Pablo Aguilar and Nick Fazekas to push Kawasaki in front en route to the close-shave win.
Fazekas shouldered the bulk of production for the winning side as he generated a near triple-double output of 23 points, 10 rebounds, nine assists and two blocks.
Jordan Heath and Matt Janning then chipped in 11 and 10 points, respectively, for the Brave Thunders, who rose to a 9-3 slate.
Niigata, on the other hand, saw the all-around effort of Allen, who had 25 points, eight boards and seven dimes, go down the drain.
Ayres also had a spirited outing that went for naught as he finished with a double-double line of 17 points and 13 rebounds in the crushing loss.
Paras and Niigata will aim to barge back into the win column when they collide with the back-to-back title-seeking Chiba Jets this weekend.
Ohmer Bautista is a sports journalist who has covered local and international sporting events in the Philippines. The views expressed are his own.